Spring Rain by Marc Hamer

Staff Pick

In alternating dual narratives, Hamer’s deeply moving third book both fills out the back story of the teenager who walked away from home without plan or destination (eventually learning How to Catch a Mole) and follows the successful gardener of Seed to Dust into retirement. These two identities—as distinct as they are similar—mesh in Hamer’s richly observant and lyrical prose, which probes the fear and loneliness of his childhood with an angry father he called the Black Dog, and greets each new day in the Zen spirit of joy and celebration. Still “playing like a serious child,” one ever susceptible to “finding truth and wonder” in our beautiful, painful world, Hamer recalls and continues the “adventures” he had as a nature-loving, encyclopedia-reading boy, happiest when left alone to explore the outdoors, all the while sharing the wisdom he gleaned by knowing “a garden…[as] a continuing conversation,” describing the dramas of foxgloves and bees, and disputing Milton by finding in each present moment a paradise of “is-ness” that “was never lost, we merely became too self-important to see it.”

Spring Rain: A Life Lived in Gardens By Marc Hamer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781778400278
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Greystone Books - April 4th, 2023

Wolfish, by Erica Berry

Staff Pick

From “What is a wolf?” to “who’s afraid of the big bad wolf,” from creation myths and Aesop’s many fables centered on wolves to crying wolf and “Little Red Riding Hood,” from colonial efforts to eradicate both wolves and indigenous people to debates about repopulating wolves, Berry’s prodigious study follows every cultural and historical avenue to understanding the roles we’ve given wolves throughout the ages. At the same time, she offers an eye-opening natural history; grounded in the life and death of OR-7, one of the first wolves to re-enter Oregon, this investigation uses science to expose the myth of “the lone wolf” and to show the unwarranted criminalization—even demonization—of an animal that rarely attacks humans and one that, in fact, early humans learned much from. Still, “wolf-ish” suggests something that can’t quite be pinned down, and that elusiveness is the heart of what is also a probing meditation on fear. Using her own and others’ experiences with stalkers, creeps, and worse, Berry raises important issues of predators and prey, of who has power, who has lessons to learn, and whose stories get to be believed.

Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear By Erica Berry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250821621
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Flatiron Books - February 21st, 2023

Syntax of the River, by Barry Lopez with Julia Martin

Staff Pick

Whether reflecting on the writer's role, recalling his far-flung travels, or offering watchwords—respect, discipline, hunger—for young writers, the late Barry Lopez speaks here with the same attentiveness, compassion, and wisdom that made Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, and many other books unforgettable. Recorded in 2010 with Julia Martin, a South African writer who has also collaborated with Gary Snyder, these conversations contain much to treasure and ponder, from Lopez’s commitment to writing as a way “to help” a world struggling with climate catastrophes and divisiveness to his belief that “you can learn about god anywhere…you just have to pay attention”—as Lopez always did, interrupting these dialogues, for instance, to watch the activities of herons and mergansers on the river by his door.

Syntax of the River: The Pattern Which Connects By Barry Lopez, Julia Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781595349897
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Trinity University Press - January 17th, 2023